Off to the Colby Museum of Art

Let’s just say that Clif and I are beginning to enjoy these anniversary outings very, very much. As a matter of fact, today I told Clif that I’ll be a little mopey when these celebratory excursions are over.

But never mind about that! We will enjoy these outings now and not think too far ahead. (A blizzard is predicted for next Tuesday. Oh, joy.)

Yesterday we went to the Colby College Art Museum for a noontime talk about the artist George Bellows (1882-1925) and the propaganda war-series lithographs he did for the United States during World War I. At Colby, some of these lithographs are featured in an exhibit called Graphic Matters: George Bellows and World War I. (To see a sample of Bellows’s work, click on the link.)

This is from the museum’s website: “His depictions of reported German atrocities on the Western front were used by media outlets and the federal government to stoke anti-German sentiment. Bellows’s ‘War Series’ highlights the complex and porous relationship between art and propaganda.”

The speakers, curators Justin McCann and Diana Tuite, concluded that Bellows’s images were overwrought and over the top. McCann and Tuite are not wrong. However, during the Q & A, I did note that after seeing the images from the current war in Syria, I would have to say that war itself is over the top. Maybe Bellows wasn’t wrong to portray war that way. The violence and destruction are so terrible that it’s a wonder that people ever recover.

Or maybe Bellows went too far with the propoganda. Anyway, not exactly the cheeriest of talks, but interesting nonetheless, and the small gallery was packed with seniors and students.

After the talk, we had lunch at the museum’s cafe, where we had some of the tastiest and most reasonably priced food we have ever eaten at a museum. When I asked the woman who served us where the food came from, I was not surprised to learn that most of it comes from Colby’s own kitchens. Long ago, I worked in the kitchen at one of the dorms, and the food was very good, made from scratch.

Clif and I shared a tasty homemade chicken soup and shrimp sushi rolls.

Naturally, we also had dessert, a brownie big enough for at least three people.

Refreshed, we went to another exhibition—No Limits: Zao Wou-Ki. This couldn’t have been more different from the Bellows exhibit.   Zao’s big, bold abstracts jumped with color. They reminded me of representations of the Big Bang, and they filled me with joy. Zao (1920-2013) was a Chinese-French artist. I’d never heard of him, and I was grateful to have the chance to see his work.

While I’m on the subject of gratitude…I am so grateful to have a college with such an excellent art museum within easy driving distance. This museum is free, as are the many lectures and talks that go with the exhibits.

I love nature, but I love art, in its various aspects, with equal intensity, and both are of vital importance to me. Clif is the same way. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons we’ve been married so long.

Whatever the case, we both feel fortunate to live in a rural area that has access to so much good art.

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21 thoughts on “Off to the Colby Museum of Art”

    1. There is indeed, and to quote my Yankee husband, the food is pretty darned good. I love the idea of forty weeks of celebrations for forty years of marriage. Alas, ours will only be for a week 😉

  1. B and I also take advantage of the local colleges for cultural enrichment. Much of which is free or have free days. Yesterday, we took in Smith’s bulb show and Free Night at the Art Museum, which featured excavations from a villa outside of Pompeii. I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to wealthy seaside mansions of today. Some things never change, there is always a wealthy ruling class and for your exhibit, war.

    1. I was thinking of you and your husband when I wrote about Colby and all it has to offer. You, took, live in a lovely rural area with cultural opportunities. Lucky us! And you are so right about the wealthy ruling class and war.

    1. Right, right. I’m thinking Tuesday will be a pie and soup day. After all, it will be March 14 and therefore pie day 😉

  2. Tasty does not surprise me, but reasonably priced at a museum cafe – that is truly shocking. Sounds like a very interesting talk. The propaganda campaign to support US entry into WWI was not one of our country’s finest moments, in my opinion. There really was no compelling reason for US involvement, and so the propaganda was that much more dishonest and hysterical, much like the campaign prior to the Iraq war. Ironically, this made it harder to mobilize the country for WWII, which really was a matter of vital national interest.

    1. Yes, the talk was very interesting. More are coming up in the next month, and we will go to some of them even though we will be done celebrating our 40th. What you wrote about WWI certainly gave me pause. Onward, onward the the propaganda machine goes.

    1. As it appears you are writing from London, it seems to me you must be thinking of another Colby Art Museum. The one I went to is in the U.S. 😉

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